Airlines ground thousands of flights in record blizzard

NEW YORK — Airlines were getting their operations back on line Thursday after snowy weather led to more than 2,000 flight cancellations in the Northeast and closed down two of the country's busiest airports.

It's been a particularly bad winter for airlines, with an earlier blizzard grounding more than 9,000 flights from Jan. 10 through Jan. 12, and knocking back industry profits by up to $145 million, according to one estimate.

On Thursday, New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and nearby Newark International in New Jersey were closed around midnight and reopened at 10:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively.

Airport crews continue to clear snow off the ramps and away from gates, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman.

Some airlines expect operations won't return to normal before today.

This January has become the "snowiest" month in history, and Wednesday's snowfall broke daily records for New York City and Philadelphia, according to AccuWeather.

"The 12.3 inches that fell alone on Wednesday broke the day's long-standing snowfall record of 9 inches from 1871," wrote senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski on the AccuWeather website. "The storm also pushed the month's snow total to 36 inches in New York City."

New York City closed schools, and there were mass transit delays reported across the area.

Earlier, JetBlue Airways said severe weather in the fourth quarter reduced its operating income by about $25 million.

JetBlue, a New York-based budget carrier, said it was forced to cancel 375 flights beginning Wednesday and into Thursday morning. AMR Corp., the parent to American Airlines and Eagle Airlines, said it canceled 245 flights, and US Airways said it canceled 424 mainline and Express flights.

United Continental Holdings said its United unit canceled 246 flights and Continental canceled 418.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines canceled more than 1,000 flights.

All the airlines have offered to change customer itineraries that were affected by the storm free of charge.

Share This Story